The Crisis of the Irrigation System in Third Century Egypt
The PhD research project aims at investigating the reasons for the debasement of the irrigation system in the third century Egypt and the extent to which these changes had an impact on the life and the economy of the Roman province. Climate changes and diffusion of pandemic disease (i.e. the Plague of Cyprian) along with human negligence could potentially be held responsible for the aforementioned change. The subproject seeks to advance the frontier of the traditional historical research and make use of the most innovative scientific data available on climate, geology and paleopathology, combining them with the archaeological and papyrological evidence. The study on changes in the Egyptian hydraulic system are particularly promising thanks to the unparalleled evidence available for this region of the Empire and it’s essential in order to analyse the progression of dramatic event such as famines, great epidemics, depopulation, desertion of villages. Furthermore, it can serve as a model of human intervention on the environment and resilience to dramatic events.